Red Cedar vs White Cedar: Which Wood Is Best for Interior Design Projects?

In modern construction, there exists an incredible variety of woods to use when you’re looking to transform the look of your walls and ceilings. Each has benefits and drawbacks every homeowner should consider before starting a project, but which one is right for you?

One particularly sought after type of wood is cedar. Durability, character, and a distinct aroma make cedar planks the ideal choice for home improvement. Cedar is split up into two types – white cedar and red cedar. Both types of wood have unique characteristics and advantages, but which is best suited for interior applications?

Fun fact: Northern White Cedar is used for more than just building. Cedar leaf oil is distilled from boughs and used in medicines and perfumes, too!

This article will compare the pros and cons of white cedar and red cedar, the environmental impact of each, as well as health benefits in relation to interior design applications. By comparing red cedar vs white cedar side by side, you can make an informed decision and be confident you have the right material for your home renovation project.

Overview of Red Cedar and White Cedar

Red cedar and white cedar planks have really gained traction in recent years, found in homes and office spaces around the world. They have a long history of use due to their durability, strength, and visual appeal. White cedar is mainly located in Southern Canada and in colder areas, whereas Red cedar can be found in eastern North America.

Red cedar has a reddish-brown color with distinct grain patterns that can range from tight knots to wide open swirls. It’s also highly resistant to rot, decay, warping, shrinking, cracking, and splitting – making it the ideal choice for exterior applications like decks or siding.

White cedar has a light yellow hue with uniform grain patterns that often appear straight or slightly wavy on the surface. White cedar’s natural insect-repelling properties make it a great choice for exterior and interior applications where bug infestations could pose a threat.

Both types of cedar are commonly used as paneling or trim pieces inside homes and offices due to their aesthetic appeal and resistance to damage from moisture. They can also be used as beams for structural support in larger rooms since they’re strong enough to bear heavy loads without buckling under pressure. Red cedar and White cedar planks can be easily worked with using standard tools, so they’re perfect for DIYers, too.

Word of caution: Because of natural oils, paint will not adhere to red cedar as easily. If you’re looking to paint your wood siding, go with white cedar instead.

See for yourself which type of wood is better suited for your home by comparing the benefits and drawbacks of white cedar vs red cedar in the next section.

Pros and Cons of Red Cedar

Red cedar, renowned for its aesthetic charm and robustness, is a favored pick for interior design applications. It’s an attractive, light-colored wood with a distinct aroma that adds warmth and character to any home or office space. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of red cedar.

Durability and Strength

Red cedar is known for its strength and durability, making it ideal for high traffic areas like hallways or living rooms. Its strong fibers are resistant to warping, shrinking, swelling, cracking, splitting, rotting, and insect damage – all common problems faced by other types of wood. Plus it doesn’t require any additional treatments like staining or sealing in order to protect it from the elements.

Aesthetics & Color Variations

Red cedar has a beautiful reddish-brown color that can easily be enhanced with stains or finishes if desired. There’s no mistaking red cedar sidings on a home! The grain pattern is often straight but may have some knots depending on the type of wood used, though this is less likely to happen than with white cedar. That being said, knots give each plank unique characteristics that make them stand out from one another while adding texture to walls and ceilings.

Red cedar offers excellent cost-effectiveness in comparison to other woods such as oak or maple, providing long-term quality at an affordable price. Despite initial costs being potentially higher, red cedar is a wise investment for homeowners looking to save money in the long run.

Red cedar provides an ideal blend of strength and visual appeal that make it a great option for many home improvement projects. But what about white cedar? Read on to learn about this lighter variation in the cedar family.

Pros and Cons of White Cedar

White cedar is a widely used material for interior projects, lauded for its attractive aesthetics and robustness. However, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of white cedar before investing in wood planks.

White cedar is especially renowned for its impressive strength-to-weight ratio, lending it to be an ideal material for interior walls and ceilings. It’s not just durable though. White cedar is easy enough to work with that it can be fashioned into intricate designs. This wood species has a high resistance to decay, rot, insects, and moisture damage which makes it the preferred choice for use in both dry and wet climates. Additionally, white cedar can be easily shaped into beautiful designs without sacrificing structural integrity or stability.

Aesthetics and Color Variations

One of the biggest advantages of using white cedar is its unique aesthetic appeal. This wood species features light, creamy tones that range from yellowish browns to deep red hues with beautiful grain patterns throughout each board. This gives white cedar a distinct visual appeal you can’t find with other types of wood. Furthermore, white cedar takes stains well so you can easily customize walls and ceilings by choosing a color that complements your existing design.

White cedar isn’t as cheap as other woods, but its cost-effectiveness when compared to pricier materials–like mahogany or walnut–makes it a worthwhile investment. Additionally, since this wood species is naturally resistant to insects, you won’t need to invest in additional treatments. All things considered, if you’re looking for a durable yet aesthetically pleasing option, white cedar might just be worth looking into.

Before making any final decisions, it’s important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of each type of cedar in relation to your project. Keep this next section in mind when using red cedar or white cedar for interior home improvement.

Key Takeaway: Red cedar is light, naturally resistant to insects and moisture, and is likely to have less knots than white cedar. But its natural oils make painting more difficult. For a lighter-colored option that still boasts unique visual appeal, consider investing in white cedar planks. Also, you can further customize your white cedar planks by painting or staining.

Red Cedar vs White Cedar for Interior Applications

When choosing between red cedar and white cedar for interior applications, it’s important to consider the respective characteristics of each. Both types of woods make great planks that can be used in numerous designs, but there are several factors you should consider.

Red cedar features a reddish-brown hue with tinges of yellow, and is frequently employed as an eye-catching wall or ceiling panel. It tends to be slightly softer than white cedar so it may require additional support when used in high traffic areas, but it makes up for that with its unique look.

White cedar has a light golden hue and is more commonly used as a full wall or ceiling due to its neutral tone. Like red cedar, it may require additional support if being used in high traffic areas such as hallways or stairwells.

Pro-tip: If you’re looking for a unique, customizable type of wood for your living space, go with white cedar. It’s easy to paint and looks great in virtually any room.

When it comes to finishing options and maintenance requirements, both woods offer similar benefits. Both can be treated with either a stain or polyurethane coating to further protect against water damage and prolong the life of your wood. However, red cedar will need regular oiling while white cedar only requires occasional cleaning. A mild soap and water solution will keep white cedar looking its best.

Lastly, installation processes and timeframes vary between the two woods due to their physical properties. Red cedar boards tend to be lighter weight, making them easier to work with during installation. White cedar might need extra manpower due to its heavier weight per board, so exercise caution when installing along corners.

Overall, both types of wood offer great advantages when considering interior applications such as walls, ceilings, and paneling. However, it’s important to carefully consider which you’ll use for your project. Cost considerations, aesthetics, durability and strength all play a factor in what makes each wood better suited for certain designs.

Considering the numerous factors that come into play when selecting wood for interior applications, it’s important to compare red cedar and white cedar so you can make a good decision. Next, let’s explore the environmental impacts of these two woods.

Key Takeaway: Both red and white cedar offer advantages when used as interior ceilings and walls, but the final decision will depend on a variety of factors. Cost, look, feel, maintenance and installation requirements are important factors to consider before investing in either wood.

Environmental Impact of Red Cedar vs White Cedar

When considering the environmental impact of red cedar versus white cedar, sustainability and renewable resources are important things to keep in mind. Red cedar is a fast-growing softwood that can be regularly harvested from managed forests. It’s also naturally resistant to decay and insect damage, so it’s a good choice for exterior applications like decks and fencing.

White cedar grows in North America and Europe but isn’t quite as readily available as red cedar. This type of wood may take more work due to its unique grain pattern which requires special saw blades for cutting boards with clean edges. If the wrong type of blade is used, white cedar is much more likely to splinter or have pieces chip off during processing. That being the case, red cedar has lower emissions than white cedar because it takes less energy in the sawing, drying, and milling process.

Red cedar and white cedar can both be beneficial to the environment, but it’s essential to weigh their resource sustainability when deciding between the two. Both types of wood are great choices when used in building projects due to their ability to store carbon dioxide within the wood fibers over time.

Health of the planet isn’t the only benefit of these woods, though. Read on to see some of the personal health benefits gained by using red and white cedar planks.

Key Takeaway: Red cedar is a fast-growing, sustainable softwood that can be harvested from managed forests. White cedar may require more energy inputs during production, but it still has lower emissions than hardwoods or composite materials. Both types of wood are eco-friendly choices for giving your wall paneling and ceilings an aesthetically pleasing look!

Red Cedar vs White Cedar – Health Benefits

Red cedar contains a naturally occurring oil called thujaplicin that acts as an effective deterrent against insects like termites, fleas, ants, and other wood-boring pests. White cedar also contains aromatic compounds that are toxic to some species of insects, so both are perfect for areas prone to infestation.

In addition to being insect-resistant, red cedar’s tight grain structure and high moisture content make it resistant to mold growth. It boasts 5x the allergen-blocking power of standard insulation materials like fiberglass, trapping airborne particles before they can make their way into your home. White cedar also stands out for its low allergen count, helping to keep irritating substances at bay and improve air quality in your living space or office.

When evaluating red cedar and white cedar for interior applications, it’s important to consider all factors – like cost, durability, coloration, environmental effects and health benefits. The final choice ultimately comes down to your personal needs and preferences. Whatever you choose, you can be confident red or white cedar planks will transform your home!

Red cedar and white cedar both possess properties that make them ideal choices for any residence or workspace. But which is best? Let’s review.

Key Takeaway: Comparing red and white cedar for interior applications requires careful consideration of factors such as durability, aesthetics, cost-effectiveness, and health benefits. Weighing these benefits and drawbacks is key to finding out which type of cedar will be the right choice for your home.

Which is Better? Red Cedar or White Cedar?

When it comes to sprucing up the walls or ceilings in your home or office, red cedar and white cedar are two of the nation’s top choices. Both materials boast unique characteristics that make them stand out in a variety of rooms, but which one is better? Overall performance, longevity, and budget considerations might answer your question.

Red cedar is a highly durable material with excellent strength properties. It features an attractive reddish-brown color that can vary depending on age and exposure to sunlight. Red cedar also offers great insulation values as well as natural insect repellent properties. In terms of cost, red cedar tends to be more expensive than white cedar. But your location, size of project, and wood grade can change prices dramatically.

Keep in mind: Local home improvement stores may offer more affordable options as well as bulk-pricing. This can make the difference between whether white cedar or red cedar is used in your home!

White cedar is another popular choice for interior walls and ceilings due to its attractive light-brown hue, adding warmth without overwhelming the rest of your design. Like red cedar, white cedar also provides good insulation values along with allergen resistance. This makes it a great option for homes with pets or small children who may be prone to allergies. However, compared to red cedar, white cedar doesn’t offer the same level of durability or longevity. Cost-wise though, white cedar tends to be cheaper than red cedar – so if you’re looking for something more budget friendly, this might be the right choice for you.

Ultimately when deciding between red cedar and white cedar, both materials offer their own advantages depending on the type of projects. Red cedar and white cedar planks make great walls and ceilings, but your budget and personal needs will make one better suited for your home. If longevity, natural insect repellent properties, and availability are important criteria then opting for red cedar would likely be more beneficial. On the other hand, if you plan to paint your cedar planks, white cedar is better suited. 

Key Takeaway: Red cedar is more expensive but sturdier and slightly more resistant to insects and rot, so overall value might be higher in the long run. White cedar provides good insulation, is easier to paint, and can be more affordable. Which wood is best will ultimately come down to budget versus performance, as well as your personal preference.

FAQs in Relation to Red Cedar vs White Cedar

Is white cedar or red cedar better?

White cedar is the better option when you’re looking to paint your wooden walls and ceilings. It has a light, creamy color that will brighten up any room while still providing a natural look. It also comes with natural rot and weather resistance, so it can be used both inside and outside. Red cedar will likely cost more, but its longevity, availability, distinct aroma, and enhanced insect resistance increase its overall value. It’s important to consider each of these factors when investing in either type of wood.

What is the difference between white and red cedar tree?

White cedar is a coniferous species of tree usually found in northern parts of North America. It’s a lightweight yet sturdy wood with yellowish-brown hues and distinct knots throughout the grain. Red cedar trees are also found in North America and feature a vibrant reddish hue resulting from high levels of tannins. Red cedar is denser than white cedar and tends to be more naturally resistant to rot, insects, and weather. Both types of wood are popular choices used for furniture, flooring, siding, shingles, decks, and more. White cedar is less resistant to moisture and rot, but is usually more budget friendly. Red cedar boasts superior longevity but may come with a higher price tag. 

Is red cedar more durable than white cedar?

Yes, in general red cedar is more durable than white cedar. Red cedar possesses a higher density, plus natural oils which help it to withstand moisture, decay, and insect infestations. Additionally, its strong grain patterns are known for their resistance to wrapping or splitting over time. In comparison to red cedar, white cedar is less durable due to lower density and absence of oils that contribute to resistance.

Why is red cedar so desirable?

Red cedar is an extremely desirable wood for many reasons. It has naturally high resistance to decay, insects, and moisture, making it great for projects both interior and exterior. Red cedar is lightweight yet durable, has a distinct aroma that adds warmth to a room, and is easy to work with while maintaining sturdiness. Additionally, the reddish-brown coloration of red cedar is sure to add beauty to any project you use it on.


Red cedar offers a distinct aesthetic, greater durability and becomes a great investment over time. White cedar provides lighter tones, is easy to paint, and features unique knots throughout the plank. Ultimately, the choice between these two types of wood will depend on what kind of aesthetic you’re looking for – as well as your budget and specific project needs. 

For a DIY approach to transforming the walls and ceilings of your living space, Stikwood’s red cedar or white cedar planks are great options. Let us help you create a stunning interior space that reflects your unique style.